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EU provides 31m EUR for 51 Human Rights Programmes

European Commission provides EUR 31 million for 51 Human Rights and Democracy projects worldwide

On 7 August, the European Commission approved financing of € 31 million for 51 projects under the European Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) to support democracy, good governance, and the rule of law and to promote the building of sound and durable democratic societies. This substantial investment reaffirms the Commission's commitment to playing a key role in this field in partnership with NGOs and other international organisations. European Commissioner for External Relations Chris Patten said: "Promoting human rights, democratisation and the rule of law fosters international peace and stability. This is a sensible and constructive form of pre-emption to which the EU can happily subscribe. I am impressed by the high quality of projects to be carried out by NGOs. Their work and dedication is essential in promoting this worthy ambition".

The projects aim at providing support for democracy, good governance, and the rule of law and were selected under the fifth and final call for proposals launched under the EIDHR in 2002. 580 proposals were received out of which 51 were selected for funding in 2003, amounting to a total of € 31 million.

The countries concerned have been identified in the EIDHR Programming Document for 2002-2004 as "focus countries" where EIDHR support can achieve greater impact and complement other community assistance programmes and EU political dialogue. The selected countries are:

Burundi (3 projects for € 1,325,419), Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda (2 projects for € 1,480,461), Mozambique (2 projects for € 1,001,347), Zimbabwe, Eritrea, Ethiopia (1 project for € 591,826), Sudan (3 projects for € 1,492,726), Ivory Coast (3 projects for € 2,182,527), Nigeria (2 projects for € 1,725,780), Sierra Leone (1 project for € 309,862), Algeria, Israel (2 projects for € 1,015,020) & West Bank/Gaza (2 projects for € 861,909), Tunisia (1 projects for € 727,788), Cambodia (1 project for € 720,000), Indonesia (2 projects for € 1,334,764), Nepal (1 project for € 617,034), Pakistan (3 projects for € 2,307,744), Colombia (3 projects for € 1,743,924), Guatemala (2 projects for € 1,311,718), Mexico (2 projects for € 918,070), Georgia (2 projects for € 1,466,395), Russia (1 project for € 742,209), Ukraine (3 projects for € 1,428,529), Haiti (2 projects for € 1,571,708), Fiji (2 projects for € 1,279.890), Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (1 project for € 612,106), Bosnia and Herzegovina (2 projects for € 1,177,574) and Turkey (2 projects for € 1,264,409).

The other four calls for proposals launched under EIDHR in 2002 resulted in the selection of 66 projects which received financing of € 47 million, and targeted the following themes:

combating racism and xenophobia and discrimination against ethnic minorities and indigenous people: 32 projects worth € 21,066,323

the prevention of torture and the provision of support for the rehabilitation of torture victims: 24 projects worth € 17,782,774

support for the abolition of the death penalty: 7 projects worth € 4,897,328

support for the work of the international tribunals and the establishment and operation of an international criminal court: 3 projects worth € 3,518,169

The EIDHR is part of the EC's external assistance policy which aims at delivering high-quality assistance programmes that have demonstrated a positive impact on the quality of people's lives. Projects to be funded must achieve a level of efficiency that meets the highest international standards. Approximately € 100 million is available annually for the EIDHR to support Human Rights and Democratisation activities to be carried out primarily in partnership with NGOs and international organisations. To date, more than 600 projects worth over € 350 million are currently under implementation with EIDHR funding worldwide.

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